Monday, October 8, 2007

Chicago Marathon

I was surprised at how many people didn't see the ending to the marathon yesterday. I always try to at least watch the ending of either the Boston Marathon or the Chicago Marathon if that's where I'm living.

And yesterday was a doozy.

Unfortunately, the death of a runner to due heat exhaustion and a pre-existing heart condition, ended up overshadowing the incredible finish of both the men's and the women's race.

The gist:

For the men's, it was down to two men and I was of course rooting for the underdog (U). The U was starting to fall behind as the finish line loomed and then out of nowhere he starts to sprint and they both cross the line at the exact same line. Seriously people, it was a photo-finish to a freakin' marathon! I was yelling at the screen the whole time and after a few minutes finally there was a shot that showed that U indeed took the race.


Then the ladies. It was down to two of them as well. One, the experienced (E) woman who had won several races before and is well known. Running behind her was the Rookie (R), who was running her very first marathon, was keeping up with her.

Now, I don't know what kind of sexual-orientation stereotypes are out there for female marathoners (if any) but with around 15-20 minutes left R took off and left E in the dust. Which cued the gushing from one of the female commentators on TV. She was talking about how perfect her form was, her abs were so perfect, her determination is incredible—she basically had her on the covers of magazines and all kinds of ludicrous stuff like that.

And of course I was cheering on, her being the kind of uber-underdog of the contest. And then reports from further back in the race came that E was hurting and slowing down, that the distance was impossible to overcome.

Ten minutes later another report: she's looking stronger, better, but still, no chance.

Then we get to the last 3-4 minutes of the race and you still can't see E. R is coming down the final stretch and she's HIGH FIVING people in the crowd. Which kind of gave me a little bit of pause, as in, "wait a minute, underdogs don't do that."

Then she starts waving at the crowd.

Then WAY in the back you see what looks like a newborn, uncoordinated (but FAST) horse is barreling down the street. And R has no idea because there are a couple of men also running in the vicinity. And she's coming harder and harder and I'm thinking NO FUCKING WAY!

And then with like 10 yards left R catches a glance to her right and sees E and she panics and tries to sprint the last section but NOT IN TIME! E TAKES IT HANDILY! (then she passed out on the pavement and the look on R's face is one of those that will become Marathon lore for years to come)

I was yelling at the screen NO WAY NO WAY NO WAY!!!

I'm all about the underdog but yesterday I learned there's something I like better: the impossible becoming possible in front of my eyes.


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